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Why does the Entropy Sphere have fewer options?

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  • Why does the Entropy Sphere have fewer options?

    Recently, I've been reading M20.
    All Spheres have more options of sects where they can be Affinity Spheres. Entropy has exactly 3: one Tradition, one Craft and one Convention. Every other Sphere has at least one extra sect per Faction where they can be chosen as your affinity one.
    What are your opinions on other Traditions or Crafts (don't really care about Conventions) that could have Entropy as Affinity Spheres?
    I really like this Sphere, but don't like the Chakravanti (too big of a cultural baggage with which I don't resonate at all) or the Solificati (they feel just like a weird mixture of the Order of Hermes with the Cult of Ecstasy).
    If you could also tell me WHY you like either of these sects, please do!

  • #2
    I think the simplest solution for you would be to go back to the Revised where specific factions within each Tradition had another alternate Sphere options (though you still had to have at least one do in the standard Affinity Sphere of your major group), like House Fortuna Hermetics getting to add Entropy to their options for Affinity, but you'd still need to start with Forces 1 at a minimum.

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    • #3
      Hey, thanks. Do you know which book has it? Is it in the Core or the Tradition Books?

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      • #4
        There are brief summaries of all of each Traditions' factions in the earlier editions of the core book, but there wasn't room to include that in the 20th anniversary edition. They get fleshed out in more detail in the Tradition Books.

        Another one to look at is the Chaoticians. They're in the Virtual Adepts, if I recall correctly
        Last edited by Dataweaver; 02-09-2021, 09:16 PM.


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        • #5
          All of the factions with their Specialty Spheres (if they have them, not all do) were primarily in the Traditionbooks.

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          • #6
            Most of my Euthanatos characters over the past 25 years have tended to be from their Norse, Greco-Roman or Voodoo related branches, just because I'm more familiar with the cultures and more confident in my ability to play them. I generally enjoy the idea of playing someone who is tasked with being a chosen agent of Fate, protecting the cosmic cycle of life, death, and reincarnation, and with a certain degree of moral questions and ambiguity about what they do.

            My more in-depth musings about the Tradition are here.

            From what I recall, as far as factions in the other Traditions, they include
            • House Fortunae of the Order of Hermes (sacred mathematicians and qabbalists who master Ars Fortunae or the Art of Fortune and Fate);
            • The Twisters of Fate of the Verbena (primal practitioners of the oldest and more hardcore paths of the Wyck, including the ways of the Fates, Norns and other seers or keepers of destiny.);
            • Chaosticians of the Virtual Adepts (theoretical mathematicians exploring the frontiers of probability and change);
            There are probably small minor facations/sub-factions, as well as individual Mage, within the other Traditions who focus on Entropy. Etherites who specialize in exotic forms of thermodynamics (especially cold fusion and perpetual motion), Dreamspeakers who deal heavily with spirits of fortune or death/decay, Akashics who take a special interest in the workings of karma, Chorusers trying to work out the grand divine plan of The One, and Ecstatics who follow paths of self-annihilation, among others. And then Hollowers who could follow their own version of any of the above.

            As for the Crafts, it's a primary focus for the Wu-Keng, although their circumstances are extremely unique and some find them problematic. There's also a strong tradition of kismet among the Middle Eastern mysticism which informs the Ahl I Batin and Taftini, including certain surprisingly subtle members of the latter who take a special interest in it. (I have long rejected the idea of the Batini not being able to use Entropy, because it's a very dumb relic from 1st ed when Entropy pretty much equaled "Wyrm Magic" and was therefore "bad", and the Batini were presented as Magic Brown People Without Sin. Their initial write up in Revised Edition, as well as IIRC Mage: Sorcerers Crusade, ignored and/or debunked this, but Lost Paths seemed to try to double down on it or something.)


            What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly. That is the first law of nature.
            Voltaire, "Tolerance" (1764)

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            • #7
              Indeed. And in Dark Ages: Mage, one of the Batini Pillars was, in effect, Entropy; which makes the notion that they can't use it now all the more bizarre.


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              • #8
                Order of hermes are the ones who can have any affinity sphere

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                • #9
                  As of M20, anyone can have any Affinity Sphere.


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                  • #10
                    Thank you all who answered. I've got food for thought. I guess I'll look for the Tradition Books. With M20 I may have gotten a wrong impression of the Traditions...

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                    • #11
                      Yeah; in earlier editions, Affinity Sphere was hard-linked to Tradition. But then, so was Paradigm (called “theory” or “philosophy” depending on edition), Practice (called “style” in first and second editions), and Instruments (called “foci” in older editions). That is, earlier editions approached everything as “your choice of faction defines your approach to Magick”, while M20 flips that to “your approach to Magick informs your choice of faction”. You're not, for example, going to be a Chorister without Faith or God-bonding or something similar; but you can easily have Faith or God-bonding or whatever without being a Chorister.

                      Likewise with your choice of Affinity Sphere: earlier editions had each Tradition associated with a single Affinity Sphere; in M20, Affinity Sphere is chosen by the mage, and each Tradition has a list of Spheres that are common among its members. (There are two exceptions to this, both of which I ignore: the Order of Hermes write-up mandates that Forces be studied by its members; and the Ahl-i-Batin are forbidden from learning Entropy.) The choice of Affinity Sphere may align with the suggestions provided by the faction; but they don't have to.


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                      • #12
                        So, I was making a search, and found about the Knights of Radamanthys. They seem interesting, but I barely found information on them. Besides the revised Euthanathos tradition book, are there anymore books that expands the sect? It just gave them a few words on origin and said how they are good combatants without anything else.

                        PS: I thought it was better to answer here instead of making a new post, is that right?

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                        • #13
                          Unfortunately, I don't think they're mentioned outside of the two Tradition books.
                          They are part of the Greek branch of the Tradition, usually referred to as the Hierochthonoi. Hiero is the Ancient Greek term for "holy" or "sacred", usually used to refer to religions, while Chthonic means "subterranean" and refers to the Greek gods and spirits of the Underworld, as well as the associated elements of earth and water (as opposed to the Olympic gods of the sky and heavens, and the elements of air and fire). The term basically translates to "Underworld Faith" or "Religion of the Dead", and I've never been entirely sold on the idea that this is the actually name of the faction rather than just a description of what they are (especially given that Ancient Greek Chthonic cults/religion involved a lot of agriculture, fertility and nature gods, and therefore have a lot of overlap with the Verbena).
                          The main Chthonic gods were/are Hades (lord of the Underworld) and his bride, Persephone. Persephone is also the daughter of Demeter (goddess of agriculture/growing things), and spends half the year in the Underworld and half with her mother because apparently Demeter is clingy. As such, Persephone represents the yearly cycle of seasonal agriculture and with it the cycle of life, death, and rebirth. Other deities include:
                          • the Moirai/Fates (who decide every being's destiny and death)
                          • the Erinyes/Furies (punishers of those guilty of moral crimes, oath breaking, and murder)
                          • Hecate (goddess of the moon, witchcraft/necromancy, and crossroads)
                          • Nyx (the personification of night) and her offspring Hypnos (Sleep) and Thanatos (Death)
                          • Melinoe (goddess of offerings made to the dead and of the restless dead)
                          • Styx (both the river that separates the living world from the Underworld and the goddess who is tied to it; oaths sworn in her name are unbreakable, even by the gods) and her offspring Zelus (zeal), Nike (victory), Kratos (strength) and Bia (force).
                          And then there are the Judges of the Dead. At least one story is that, prior to Persephone becoming Queen of the Underworld, all the dead souls just sort of stood around and didn't do anything (save those who'd been specially singled out for punishment by the gods). Persephone, being merciful, established three Judges who would decide the fates of the dead, allowing the virtuous to pass on the Elysium Fields (and the wicked to be set to Tartarus). One of those judges Rhadamanthys, originally a son of Zeus and a king of Crete famous for his wisdom and for his inflexible integrity.

                          The Knights are described as having officially formed in 1144 as the Knights of Nyssa. This was an effort to hide in plain sight as a Christian military order while secretly being a Chthonic mystery cult. The name is especially clever as while Nyssa is the name of a couple of towns in Asia Minor (at least two of which were Bishoprics), it is also the name sometimes given to an ancient city in western India (or Pakistan) that Alexander the Great spared because it was allegedly founded by the god Dionysus. This would obviously tie into the period when the Greek Hierochthonoi and the Indian Chakravanti first came into extensive contact with each other, especially in the Greco-Bactrian and Indo-Greek Kingdoms. They probably openly became the Knights of Rhadamanthys during the Romantic period of the late 18th and early 19th century, when Classical Greek themes and motifs were in style.

                          Just speaking personally, I've always interpreted their original function to be defending the rest of the Hierochthonoi, especially the Pomegranate Deme, and the sites and objects that are sacred to their faith. This includes various Nodes, Chantries, and Talismans, as well as various places and individuals marked by Fate as being important and in need of protection. During the medieval period, this likely expanded to include certain Christian holy sites which were either marked by Fate or which the Hierochthonoi had adapted as fronts or through cultural syncretism. By the time of the Ascension War, this certainly expanded further into helping defend locations important to the other Traditions.
                          Their other main function, as indicated by their name, would be to police the Restless Dead, at least those who insist on interacting with (or interfering with) the living. Because the Euthanatoi are primarily psychopomps, this means helping the restless dead settle their business and hopefully move on along the Great Wheel without the burden of shame or other damaging baggage. However, it also means keeping the restless dead in line and keeping them from just doing whatever they want. Sometimes it means exorcising, punishing or even destroying them. They should always strive for fairness and integrity in this judgment, and hopefully a certain degree of mercy as well.

                          As far as their magical stylings, they very likely share a lot of the same Greek mystery cult rituals as the Pomegranate Deme they originated from. In addition, they draw heavily on the power of sacred oaths and vows (see the swearing by the River Styx bit above). Essentially, if they swear to do something, then Fate with try to help them along via the various effects of Entropy that deal with probability and chance, as well as other suitable effects (Life magic that keeps them or their charges from dying, for example, or Time magic that impacts timing or being able to perform multiple actions at once, or Spirit magic which summons helpful ghosts, lampads (underworld nymphs), or even the Furies). This is further augmented with traditional knightly sacraments that have been adapted to the Chthonic faith. Basically blessings bestowed by any of the above gods. The most blatantly obvious and useful would be that of Kratos granting temporary superhuman strength (via Life magic), but it could be almost anything. The Knights also undoubtably have a long tradition and vast collection of Talisman weapons that range from the Ancient Greek era to the modern day.

                          Anyway, I hope that at least gives you something to work with.


                          What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly. That is the first law of nature.
                          Voltaire, "Tolerance" (1764)

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                          • #14
                            Their original function being the temple guardians of the Pomegranate Deme is in the books.

                            Dead Magic II has some useful stuff for them (actually, it has a lot of useful stuff for some of the more obscure Euthanatos factions which has nothing to do with the title of the book being called Dead Magic). There's a Matter 1/Mind 1 rote in the Roman section (though the Sphere choices are a bit iffy) that's probably something most Knights learn ASAP, and in general has a lot of good ideas for them.

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                            • #15
                              Wow. I love Greek mythology and culture in general. In fact I've always been fascinated by it since I was a child, that being the reason I usually hate stuff that try to adapt it in a "christianized" way with Hades being like the devil and so on. I actually feel really compelled right now to find more information and ways to join it with the game.
                              The reasons for the Sect being named as Knights of Nyssa is very nice, as their connections with history. Really want to see them more fleshed out in the future.

                              Thanks for the book indication! Will be looking into it.

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